Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 497,668 confirmed infections, 15,884 deaths (23 November 2020)
23 November 2020 (closed)
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According to the Central Java Police Department, executions of 13 convicted drug traffickers - through firing squad - are being prepared and should be completed within a couple of weeks. Names and nationalities of the 13 people on death row in Indonesia have not been published yet. However, it is reported in media that three Indonesian prisoners have been transferred to the island Nusa Kambangan, the location where executions usually take place, on Sunday (08/05).
Since April 2015 a moratorium on executions had been put in place by the Indonesian government for economic reasons. In most advanced countries this capital punishment is condemned and therefore it disturbs international relations, including trade relations with the West when Indonesia pushes for these executions. Considering Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been making efforts and state visits to the West in order to boost economic ties, more executions could jeopardize such efforts.
Although former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke out against executions (in fact between 2008 and 2013 a de facto moratorium was put in place on executions of prisoners due to international pressure), Joko Widodo has made use of this ancient capital punishment. His support for executions could be partly explained by domestic pressures. In Indonesia drug-related crimes are regarded a serious crime, while there exists no majority of the population that rejects this capital punishment. In fact there seems to be a high degree of popular support for capital punishment in drug-relates crime cases. Moreover, Indonesians want a strong president who can resist foreign pressures.
In early 2015, five foreigners (from Brazil, the Netherlands, Malawi, Nigeria and Vietnam) as well as one Indonesian citizen - all convicted for drug trafficking - were executed by firing squad. This caused diplomatic tensions between Indonesia and the governments of Brazil and the Netherlands. Both nations withdrew their ambassadors temporarily from Indonesia. Several months later, two Australians (Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, part of the Bali Nine Group), one Brazilian, four Nigerians and one Indonesian citizen were executed, all also convicted for drug trafficking. Australia in particular had objected strongly to the executions of their citizens and threatened to boycott Bali (a popular tourist destination for Australian tourists) and temporarily withdrew its ambassador.
Now economic conditions seem to improve the Indonesian government renewed its commitment to execute convicted drug traffickers, although no date has been given regarding the next round of executions. According to Indonesian law, those on death row have to be given 72 hours notice of their execution. Currently there are still several foreigners on death row in Indonesia (for drug offenses). They include Filipina maid Mary-Jane Veloso, Briton Lindsay Sandiford and Frenchman Serge Atlaoui.